It’s hard to believe, but Shinedown got started over 20 years ago. This hard-rocking band from Jacksonville, Florida, was put together in 2001 by singer Brent Smith. He took Barry Kersch on board as a drummer, and these two have stuck it out since then.
Originally, Jasin Todd rocked the guitar, and Brad Stewart bashed the bass until 2008 and 2007, respectively. Things then changed, and the band took on their current line-up with Zach Myers on guitar and Eric Bass on, what else, but the bass.
Over 20+ years, personnel changes, and seven studio albums, the band is still here and still rocking. Brent Smith’s songwriting and strong voice have kept things consistent over time, while the band has worked across styles from Post-Grunge to Alternative Metal, Pop to Southern Rock. So, let’s take a look at the top 50 Shinedown songs over this long and diverse musical career.
Top 50 Shinedown Songs
While Smith put the band together in 2001, they took their time putting out their debut album, Leave a Whisper, in 2003. Atlantic Records gave him a deal and had him find a band and write songs to make it happen. And this debut album was a success, going platinum and producing some great singles.
Among them is “45”, a song that made it to the #3 spot in the US Mainstream Rock charts. This is an incredibly powerful song and one that shows the band’s diversity of sounds. It starts slow and melancholy and then builds into a huge, heavy rocker.
The 45 in this song is a metaphor for life, the world, and all of its challenges, making this a song anyone who’s struggling can relate to. Smith’s vocals here are some of his best – at times low and growly, then soaring high and full of passion.
Second Chance (2008)
Coming from the band’s third album, 2008’s The Sound of Madness, is Shinedown’s most popular song to date. “Second Chance” was the second single from this album, the first to feature Myers on guitar and Bass on bass. This was also the only album where the band recorded and performed as a 5-piece, including Nick Perri on guitar for just a brief time.
“Second Chance” topped the Adult Top 40 but also hit $#2 on the Rock and Metal charts, making it a massive crossover hit. This is because it’s a slower, more Pop-Rock song than anything else the band has released. But it still has a strong, hard-hitting chorus that really draws you into the emotions of this song.
While it sometimes sounds like this song is sad or mournful, the overall meaning is positive. This is a redemption song. And, when the strings hit and the chorus swells, it’s one that you can’t help but sing along to.
What A Shame (2008)
The next song on our list of the top 50 Shinedown songs ever is “What A Shame.” This song also comes from 2008’s The Sound of Madness, which is widely considered their strongest album – it sold double-platinum, after all. This track has a Post-Grunge/Alternative Rock feel. It has a mid-tempo groove and powerful guitar riffs to power it along.
This song is a tribute, and you can think of it as a tribute to anyone you’ve lost in your life. The lyrics were written by Smith about his uncle’s death and how he dealt with the aftermath.
He points out that it’s a shame the way people judged him unfairly, based on what they saw from the outside, without really getting to know him. This makes it a very touching and thoughtful song. And, a little heartbreaking, too.
Sound of Madness (2008)
Naturally, the song “Sound of Madness” is the title track and one of the most successful singles from this album. The song hit #1 in the Mainstream Rock charts and sold platinum. As a result, it’s one of the most popular Shinedown songs.
This is a mid-tempo, hard-hitting Rock song that has some elements of Metal but also a slight Pop feel. I love the way it starts in the verses, with a huge beat and a really wicked guitar riff care of Zach Myers.
The track is a call-out song. It’s confronting people who feel like outcasts and asking them to take responsibility for themselves and their social positions, rather than just blaming everyone else and society at large.
The Crow & the Butterfly (2008)
Shinedown has always had a special place for crow imagery, both in their lyrics and in their album art. So, when they added a track called “The Crow & The Butterfly” to their The Sound of Madness album, it made a lot of sense. I think Smith sees himself as a crow, with a real dark side to deal with.
In this song, he manages to deal with it at least a bit…
This slow and emotional song is all about a relationship that didn’t work out, the loss of love, and the mistakes that were made. So, while it’s loud and powerful, the song is also sad and very mournful.
As I said, Smith is the crow in this image, and the butterfly is the partner who went away, someone who he thinks is beautiful, light, and bright in contrast to himself. It’s a beautiful image for a truly beautiful song.
The last song from The Sound of Madness is a real fan favorite. This is a much heavier song than what we’ve looked at before. But it works because the music and feeling really match the lyrics perfectly.
This song has a clear political message and anti-war theme. You can hear it with the intro, with Kersch playing a tight military march-style beat. But, when the song kicks off, he hits hard and fast, playing what are basically Metal beats. The bass and guitar chug along with intense energy.
And Smith sings with a power and a force that underpins his message here. He compares a government recruiting people to fight wars to a monster devouring the country. It’s a serious message, and one delivered expertly by Shinedown.
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom) (2012)
This track was originally written for the soundtrack of the 2010 film The Expendables and independently on iTunes. It was also included as a part of the deluxe version of The Sound of Madness and as a bonus track on the Japanese version of 2012’s Amaryllis.
Not only that, but “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” was also used as a WWE theme song for main events as well as for WrestleMania XXVII.
That’s a pretty impressive resume!
This is a fun, explosive song that is perfect for a movie full of explosions or a dynamic wrestling extravaganza. It was written on request by Sylvester Stallone for the movie, so that was a tall order to fill. But Shinedown managed to produce a gem.
This song is powerful and uplifting. And the music is as intense as ever for this band that loves to pump up the volume. Put up your fist and pump it along to one of the greatest Shinedown songs ever.
Next up, we move to the band’s 4th studio album, Amaryllis, which they released in 2012. This record saw the band return to a 4-piece unit, which they’d stay in until the present day. The album went in a sort of different direction towards brighter, more empowering, and positive songs. That was largely due to Smith making big changes in his life, such as getting sober.
The lead single from this album is the song “Bully,” which has a straightforward message, even if it’s not necessarily only about bullies. According to Smith, it’s about standing up for yourself and not letting anyone take away your self-respect. The message is empowering, and the music is still heavy and hard-hitting.
It also has a strong, sing-along pre-chorus that’s sung as a sort of group chant. The chorus is also just as fun to sing your guts out to.
The next track from Amaryllis that is one of Shinedown’s top 50 is “Adrenaline.” You can probably guess what this song is all about. This is a straight-ahead, in-your-face rocker that mixes Alternative Rock and Metal to create a powerful, fast, and heavy sound.
Lyrically, Smith isn’t hiding anything in subtle metaphors or clever imagery. The words are all about rocking hard and fast, living an exciting and full life, and getting your thrills while you can.
This is one of Shinedown’s fastest, hardest-hitting songs. And it’s an absolute pleasure to put on in the morning, for a workout, or when you just need to dance naked in your living room.
For the last song on this list of Shinedown’s best songs, we have to skip ahead to their 6th studio album, Attention Attention. Don’t get me wrong, 2015’s Threat to Survival had some great tracks on it, but I think we need to reserve a special place for “Monsters.”
This was a concept album, and “Monsters” is about a person confronting the monsters in his life. It was inspired by Smith’s continuing battle with alcohol abuse, and the ‘monster’ is the constant allure of a drink.
This song is a sort of return to the band’s earlier, original sound. There’s some Alt Rock here, some Pop, and some elements of Grunge mixed in for good measure. A strong beat plows through the song and, when combined with heavily distorted guitars, makes for an intense sound. And Smith’s vocals over top are like the icing on the cake.
If You Only Knew
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
I’ll Follow You
State of My Head
The Crow & the Butterfly
Fly From the Inside
Her Name is Alice
How Did You Love
For My Sake
I’m Not Alright
Cut the Ties
Diamondd Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Burning Bright (Sanford Mix)
All I Ever Wanted
Leave a Whisper (Acoustic)
Shed Some Light
Save Me (Acoustic)
The Human Radio
Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide
I Dare You
Leave a Whisper
Cut the Cord
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Top 50 Shinedown Songs – Final Thoughts
So there you have it – my list of Shinedown’s Top 50 songs over the past 20 years. And yes, there’s a definite bias towards their mid-2000s work, which is when this band got huge and enjoyed their peak of popularity.
But, you never know…
Shinedown is still rolling along, with their latest album, Planet Zero, released in 2022. So, we may have to update this list in the future as they continue putting out great songs. Some might make it onto their Top 50 list, but we’ll have to just wait and see and rock along with this intense band.
Until next time, happy listening.